FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Incessant downpours caused extensive flooding across South Florida following days of inclement weather, leaving streets closed, forcing the temporary closure of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and leading to multiple tornado warnings.

The National Weather Service on Wednesday night issued a rare flash flood emergency for parts of Broward County until at least 2 a.m. on Thursday. They advised area residents against going outside, as the rapidly rising floodwaters can create dangerous situations.

NWS also issued a fourth tornado warning across a wide swath of Broward until 10:15 p.m. It has been allowed to expire.

The severe conditions that began early Wednesday afternoon also led to three prior tornado warnings in Broward County.

The same area that was under a tornado warning that extended from Fort Lauderdale to just south of Dania Beach, remained under a severe thunderstorm warning. Gusty winds from around 45 to 60 mph had been reported in this area.

In Dania Beach, the street flooding led Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies to close off Stirling Road between Federal Highway and Southwest Fourth Avenue, Wednesday afternoon. 7News cameras captured standing water on Stirling Road, just west of Federal Highway during a downpour, as stalled-out vehicles left several drivers stranded.

Street flooding was also an issue along a portion of Stirling Road in Cooper City, as well as in a neighborhood along the 2300 block of Island Drive in Miramar.

In Fort Lauderdale, police officers were forced to shut down the section along Southwest 17th Street between Andrews Avenue and Fourth Avenue.

The flooding also caused slowdowns on Interstate 95 northbound, from the Golden Glades Interchange until at least the juncture to Interstate 595, where eastbound traffic slowed down to a crawl and drivers reported low visibility.

Sunrise got soaked as well. The rainfall caused flooding in parts of Sawgrass Mills Mall and its parking deck, as well as in a neighborhood near Northwest 117th Lane and West Oakland Park Boulevard.

It was a similar situation in Hollywood near North 46th Avenue and Andrews Street, as well as on Arthur Street near Diplomat Parkway. Down the street on Diplomat, waves of floodwater lapped against big homes near Atlantic Shores Boulevard.

Cellphone video sent in from a 7News viewer captured flooding near the arrivals section of FLL.

What started as a temporary ground closure turned into a full closure of the airport and the roads around it until further notice. It happened at around 5:40 p.m.

FLL officials asked people not to come to the airport or to leave.

Cellphone video captured good Samaritans pulling an elderly man from his stalled out SUV outside the airport. Moments later, they were seen struggling to make their way through waist-deep water.

Video also showed water cascading onto the northbound Federal Highway entrance to FLL, paralyzing incoming traffic.

A picture showed the airport’s flooded tarmac.

The soggy conditions startled arriving travelers.

“Everybody’s phones are just blaring off. I’m from Ireland; I’ve never seen a tornado before, and I’ve never experienced anything like it,” said a traveler. “That’s why everybody’s panicking, and everybody was positively afraid that the plane would blow away.”

Off the plane, it wasn’t any better. The relentless rain flooded lower levels of a parking garage, and the flooding on surrounding roadways and on airport property led to hours-long gridlock, trapping drivers in their cars.

7News cameras captured bumper-to-bumper traffic as motorists were stuck waiting to leave the airport.

“There were no public announcements, so that’s the thing that’s frustrating,” said a driver. “We would have just stayed in the terminal if we had known.”

Driver Mark Barber was trying to get to a friend’s mother at her flooded home.

“Everywhere was flooded out, every which way. I had to go down [State Road] 84, so I thought I could just swing by the airport, but I’m stuck here,” he said.

Lightning activity and torrential downpours were reported throughout the day in parts of Miami-Dade, including Coral Gables, South Miami and Westchester.

A street flood advisory was issued for a wide swath of Miami-Dade County, including downtown Miami and Miami International Airport, until 7:45 p.m.

In North Miami, a bicyclist in a yellow raincoat navigated through a flooded sidewalk near Sans Souci Boulevard.

7News cameras captured a flooded parking lot and green space at Florida International University’s North Campus in North Miami off Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 151st Street. The campus remains open.

North of FIU North in Aventura, cameras chowed standing water on the intersection of Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 191st Street.

Driver Yelena Saleck said she suddenly found herself dealing with a stalled-out car.

“I don’t know; this is the only car I have to get to work,” she said. “There’s nowhere to go, everywhere is water. Everything’s flooded.”

“We don’t need cars to get around here in South Florida with all this rain, we need boats,” said a woman. “Hopefully it will stop soon.”

The National Weather Service on Wednesday evening extended a flood watch along the coastal areas, from Deerfield Beach all the way south to Cutler Bay, until Thursday at 8 p.m.

Anyone whose car has been left overnight may want to call Westway Towing at 954-731-1115 to see if they have your car.

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